KNOWLEDGE DISPATCHES

Welcome to another edition of our Knowledge dispatches where we share interesting tidbits of information, we’ve gathered over the last 12 days. My name is Samuel Ajayi and I’m the community manager of Ideas Untrapped. Let’s dive in

1. We recently released a new episode of our podcast, which we had with Timi Soleye where we discussed Nigeria's power sector. There are so many gems in this episode, It tugs at so many underlying assumptions about the country even though we spoke about Nigeria's power sector. The format differs slightly from our regular episode because we allowed Timi to hit his stride and really go in-depth on issues. Timi's submission about our regulator being unfit for purpose and the way we treat power as a Utility and not as a commodity is poignant, you can listen to the conversation here.

2. Nigeria started the vaccine rollout of the AstraZeneca Vaccine which the country got as part of the COVAX initiative some days back amidst customary fanfare but as many would guess, there has been no known way to track progress or clarity on the subject, the Lagos state government has released a list of centers where people can get the vaccines, and regularly updates their vaccination numbers on the commissioner for healths page here, other than that it's been unclear, in contrast, Ghana's Vaccination numbers have been impressive. Speaking of AstraZeneca, there has been a wide backlash against the Vaccine in some European countries amidst safety concerns. This blog post mentions some implications of this even as cases continue to soar in Europe. The Nigerian government agency in charge has stuck to their guns regarding the Vaccine, so it seems we won't be stopping the Vaccine rollout for now. 

3. Flutterwave, the Nigerian Fintech startup started in 2016 announced a new round of funding that valued the company at a billion dollars which means it’s now a unicorn, recall that a few months back, Paystack, another technology startup was acquired by Stripe for 200 million dollars which is the largest exits for a Nigerian startup. This new raise means Flutterwave joins Interswitch as the other Fintech company that’s valued at a billion dollars. The Nigerian Fintech ecosystem has been undergoing rapid change that’s seen a massive amount of investment in recent years according to this report by McKinsey. We once had a chat with one of the founders of Flutterwave Iyinoluwa Aboyeji about innovation and it was quite insightful, you can listen here

4. Let's talk about crypto and NFTs, there is a certain buzz about what they are and how they work, Jack Dorsey put up his first tweet to be sold as an NFT, a digital artist sold his digital art for 69 million dollars. So what are they? The BBC and the Verge has done a lot to explain this new Crypto phenomenon. A lot of the use case for NFTs revolves around art and at a time when Nigeria's cultural and artistic impact is being felt globally (Two Nigerian artists recently won a grammy) the potentials are huge for local artists. Recall that the CBN placed a ban on Bank Crypto transactions that has caused a bit of confusion among Nigeria cryptocurrency users but that doesn't seem to have had any effect at all as the crypto trade volume has stayed the same and even trending higher. Already, some Nigerian artists are putting up their art as NFTs. There are concerns though ranging from the environment to security. It will be interesting to watch the various iterations that may come out of this, hopefully, this is not the same as the ICO craze that gripped the crypto world some years back.

5. The Nigerian Bureau of Statistics released the latest inflation and unemployment numbers. A deep dive into the unemployment numbers here paints the picture clearly. Food inflation hitting a four-year peak is something to be worried about, Akin Oyebode correctly notes the lack of storage facilities is an enormous challenge amongst many other issues. The Nigerian government would need to move fast to salvage things, Andrew Nevin the Chief economist of PWC has some ideas on that, he highlights some of them in this presentation. We hosted Adedayo Bakare and Omotola Abimbola to discuss the unemployment challenge some months back, you can listen here. 

Thank you for reading, looking forward to hearing from you.